Jacksonville, FL (July 19, 2018) -It was a packed house at the Baymeadows Town Hall held by District 11 Councilman Danny Becton and the Baymeadows Community Council “BCC” on Thursday night.
Over approximately 180 people from different Southside communities filled the conference room at FSCJ’s Deerwood campus where the town hall was held.
Councilman Becton and the BCC hosted the town hall to provide the opportunity to present all the plans for multiple projects that will be taking place in and around the area of the Old Baymeadows Golf Course near Baymeadows Circle West.
The town hall began at 6:00 p.m. and lasted till 9:00 p.m. The main topics discussed during the three hours were D.R. Horton’s new residential communities and road improvements, a commercial development named Baymeadows Park, FDOT’s Transportation Improvements proposed for Baymeadows Road in support of these projects, the proposed Conversion of the Old and former Inn of Baymeadows Hotel nd finally, the Baymeadows Community Revitalization Plans as sponsored by the BCC.
D.R. Horton’s Anthony Shark was the first of six presenters who began the night. Shark discussed the company’s upcoming residential communities that will be built through the area where the old golf course sits. The communities will be built in three phases beginning with the first development to be named Meadows Walk, approximately 143 single family homes. The developer’s plans also include road improvement on Baymeadows Circle West that will be bring that street up to city standards. This means, curb & gutters, sidewalks, lighting and re-mill and paving. Also, presented was phase II off Baymeadows Circle East, a 200 Townhome development with hopes to begin later this year. The third and final phase is a 204 Townhome community behind Los Prados. This development does not have a date of construction at this time.
The next presentation showed the site plan and renderings for the commercial development, Baymeadows Park, by John Joyce with Joyce Development Group. Baymeadows Park will be located off Baymeadows Road between Baymeadows Circle West and Baymeadows Circle East and resembles the development that Joyce compares to Tapestry Park, a mixed-use development that is north of JTB on Southside Blvd. Baymeadows Park is about local restaurants and retail stores to serve the surrounding communities. A hotel of the likes as a Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt type brand is preferred based on an estimated 120 room configuration. Golfside Drive extension, a service road connecting Baymeadows Circle West to Circle East will be built on the back of this property to help local traffic move easier. There will be outdoor dining and landscaping to attract and compliment the upscale design.
The biggest excitement that got applause was the announcement that Stratford Management Company is buying and developing the Old Inn of Baymeadows as modern studio apartments called the Lofts at Baymeadows. Stratford will be restoring the existing buildings, which will ensure minimal neighborhood disruption beginning in October of this year.
A representative from Stratford presented examples of how the company plans to fix up the property with professionally landscaped designs, rebuilt studio apartments including a community clubhouse, pool and new equipment, a theater rooms and coffee bar where residents can enjoy a high-quality rental living experience for those looking at spending only about $700 – $800 a month. Increased parking, the installation of new lighting, fencing and signage throughout the entire community will provide a community asset that residents will be excited about.
Traffic was a popular topic as residents were engaged asking lots of questions to discuss the impact that all of these projects would have not only on Baymeadows Road but their internal streets too. As a result, FDOT was the next presenter to show the upcoming 2020 design that CM Becton and FDOT have been working on for several years. This traffic improvement plan from Baymeadows Circle East to Western Way provided plenty of highlights to offset traffic: 1) provides a third land westward to provide three continuous lanes from BCE to the interstate, 2) provides a new light at Baymeadows Circle West, 3) provides two turn lanes into BCE, 4) provides a turn lane from BCE to BCW as a stacking lane entering the neighborhoods and Baymeadows Park and 5) provides islands to restrict traffic flow north and south at Western Way and Baymeadows Circle West improving light timing from a 4 phase light to 3.
The improvement will not happen overnight, explained FDOT representative. The project is still in the design phase with an upcoming public meeting in August to get community feedback. FDOT plans to start construction within two years and expects to be finished a year later. “The project is funded”, CM Becton noted.
The final presentation of the night was by the BCC which offered a professionally crafted short video that walked the residents thru the 14-year history and opportunities that face the aging infrastructure of the 40 to 50-year-old communities. Storm water ponds, flooding, failing roadways, sidewalks to nowhere all were topics presented. This afterwards, inspired a thorough discussion which CM Becton facilitated and explained the Baymeadows Revitalization Improvement District was a tool to solve these problems today. It’s “not about if you will have to do these improvements”, Becton explained, “but when”. “Your options are special assessments by your individual homeowner associations, which could cost thousands or with the idea of creating a Special Improvement District, operating similar to a CDD that can help you get these needed improvements done now”. “The choice is strictly yours”, CM Becton noted. “If you want Baymeadows to be the place to live as many past residents in our city remember from years past, then to take advantage of everything you have seen tonight, get inspired, get informed and get engaged to help the process move forward that will certainly increase property values and enhance the quality of life within your communities.”
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